Kevin Walsh

Paul Wellman

Kevin Walsh

COMB Members Drop to Four

Festering bad blood between downstream water agencies drawing from Lake Cachuma and four South Coast agencies above the dam boiled over last week as the dam hit historic low-water marks — 11.5 percent — and the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District ID1 officially renounced its membership in the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board (COMB).

Santa Ynez’s Improvement District Number 1 (ID1) representatives complained COMB was setting aside too much water for steelhead restoration efforts, more than they were required to by federal oversight agencies. They also complained the South Coast water agency members — Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Montecito — failed to live up to the contractual obligations to cut back water use when the dam dropped down to the 100,000 acre-feet mark in 2013. “There’s a lot of straws that broke the camel’s back, but it’s hard to identify the right straw,” said ID1 board president Kevin Walsh. “We just got to a place where enough was enough.”

For the four other agencies, ID1’s “Brexit” announcement came as relief. The financial contribution of the small downstream water agency was not sufficient, some said, to justify the political melodrama the friction has caused.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

County Redistricting Measures Head to Ballot

Voters will decide on a commission to change supervisor district boundaries.

Lompoc Approves Cannabis Lounge

City location allows on-site consumption.

Police Dog Subdues Domestic Disturber

Carpinteria argument resolved with help of K9.

Fire Breaks Out near Las Cruces

[Update] Cruces Fire at 150 acres, County Fire reported. Northern edge difficult; State Route 1 "looking better."

Drugs Discovered in Woman in Jail

Brought to Santa Barbara County Jail on drug charges, she was ordered to remove them from concealment.